Why Labour might want No Deal… and why such thoughts are dangerous

No Deal would suit Labour for the same reason as it would suit the Conservatives: with Brexit done each of the two major parties’ main rival would lose its main selling point. If No Deal turned out badly, that would suit Labour even better. They could blame the Tories for it while still scooping up its benefits. Discuss.

I could have stopped there. But in politics, where duplicitousness is common, there is an ever-present temptation to think that it is universal and that one’s opponents are only pretending to oppose. “Relax!” says a soothing voice. “We don’t need to do anything. They secretly want us to win and will open the gates before battle begins.” Everywhere I see Remain supporters claiming that Boris Johnson, Bluffer Boris, knows full well that leaving without a deal would be a disaster and will arrange at the last moment for it to be avoided. They add that he never even expected or wanted to win the referendum in the first place; did you not see his shocked face the morning after? He just wants someone else to step in and stop it so that he can blame them for betraying Brexit while still scooping up the benefits of remaining in the EU.

Long may they believe this. By “long” I mean until 31st October 2019. But I fear that my half-belief that Jeremy Corbyn secretly wants Brexit is merely another manifestation of the same comforting delusion.

Updated: 23rd August 2019 — 11:39 pm


  1. Unfortunately Natalie, you are not alone in this.

    I feel like Schrödinger’s cat at the moment, living in some strange universe where a No Deal BRExit simultaneously will and will not happen on October 31st and only observation of the actual event will resolve the macroscopic indeterminacy.

    I have begun to believe that I am living in the Matrix after all.

  2. As someone from Louisiana once noted in exasperation — When you are up to your ass in alligators, it is hard to remember that you are there to drain the swamp. Or, to put it more bluntly, no matter how exasperating the Brexit process is, let’s not ever forget that separation from the EU is the beginning, not the end.

    Just like most people ahead of the Referendum completely ignored the implications of the land border between UK and EU in Ireland, it is quite likely that in the days after Brexit there will be several surprises. It is possible that life in the UK will return to the same-old, same-old — with the same Tory & Labour collaborators plotting how to destroy the last vestiges of freedom in the UK. But it is also quite possible that we truly will see a Great Realignment. The fun stuff has not yet even begun.

  3. Maybe slightly off topic — but the Daily Mail is now reporting that Boris is threatening “No Deal” with the US on trade post-separation from the EU unless the US throws open its borders to British pork pies and British shower trays.

    Ok, bluster is bluster. But surely Boris realizes that the important questions he will be asked in any trade deal with the US are — What does this deal do to increase employment in the US? What does this deal do to increase investment in the US? What does this deal do to bring trade into balance by increasing US exports to the UK?

    Talking about pork pies may make the hearts of doughty Brexiteers beat faster, but it is not going to make the US side take him seriously in trade negotiations. It is certainly not going to help the UK get a trade deal done quickly.

  4. Mr C has wanted Brexit all his life. Neither his parliamentary party nor momentum agree on that. They all do agree however in wanting to see the Tories defeated.
    He will therefore appear to oppose Brexit, try to bugger up the process, but will somehow “accidentally” miss out on any opportunity to actually stop it.

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